CHICAGO (CBS) — A group of women filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against automaker Ford and won, but now there is a new legal setback due to accusations against their attorney.
CBS 2’s Jeremy Ross reports the allegations took place in Ford plants like the one in Hegewisch, but how the case is tried is currently in limbo.
“The majority of our lawsuit covered the hostile work environment that was created by Ford,” said Suzette Wright, who sued Ford. “There’s catcalling right away when you’re walking throughout the plant during orientation. Men high fived each other. They talked about who was their next conquest coming in.”
“Your case was settled?”
“Yes, sir,” she replied.
“Did you ever receive an apology from Ford?”
“I did receive an apology,” Wright stated.
As part of the settlement, Suzette Wright had to quit her job at Ford. She said she has female friends summoning the courage to take part in another class action lawsuit against the automaker, but fears a judge’s decision Thursday could put the beaks on justice for them.
“The women are essentially going to be the ones to suffer. It’s a big bump in the road,” said Wright.
Court documents show the case was denied from moving forward because a judge, in part, noted the lead attorney, Keith Hunt, was accused of “double dipping” – taking a fee, along with a portion of the class action payout intended for his clients – describing “intentionally deceptive ways of taking fees for his efforts, misconduct leading to a 30-day license suspension.”
He acknowledged prior misconduct and brought on additional attorneys.
Hunt spoke to media about the Ford case in 2015, but did not return CBS 2’s request for an interview Friday.
Wright said she filed one of the malpractice suits against Hunt, adding not everyone was required to quit as part of the settlement. She said she never wanted to quit her job.
“He was sued as a result of it, at the recommendation of Honorable Judge Elane Bucklow. She did that in open court,” Wright said.
The decision on the class action is not final and can be appealed.
Ford Motors did not respond to CBS 2’s request for a statement.